- Your family deserves wholesome, delicious food at a fair price.
- Food can - and should - be produced in a way that heals the land from which it comes.
- Food should bring us pleasure. Any day can be improved by sharing a good meal with great people!
- Local food promotes consumer choice, community vitality, and environmental benefits. These are good things.
- Your enjoyment of Old Homeplace Farm products is important to us. Very important. Let us know how we can make your experience better!
These beliefs drive our farming philosophy. As it turns out, these beliefs also mesh wonderfully with our conviction to run an ecologically responsible farm. Read on to learn more about some of our specific practices...
In nature, herds of herbivores constantly travel across the landscape to avoid predators and access new food sources. We mimic this system using rotational grazing.
Rotational grazing simply means we move the animals through our pastures in a managed fashion to ensure that our animals receive fresh pasture every day. This constant supply of fresh pasture provides excellent nutrition to our animals, which is the key that allows us to produce high-quality grass fed meat.
Rotational grazing is also good for the land. The relatively long rest periods associated with rotational grazing means that the pasture plants have ample time to recover after being grazed. In fact, our pastures seem to improve with each passing year!
Rotational grazing in action: note how the cows are hanging out together
Healthy natural systems always incorporate multiple species in the same area. This is possible because each species uses its habitat in a slightly different manner from all other species, a practice known as niche selection.
We imitate this arrangement at Old Homeplace Farm by welcoming cows, goats, sheep, pigs and chickens onto the farm. This means that we are better able to manage the forages that naturally grow in our permanent pastures.
This means we don't have to bushhog any more, since our "weeds" are now goat and sheep feed!
We consider animal manure an opportunity rather than a liability. We keep our animals on pasture as much as possible, but sometimes adverse weather leads us to feed hay in the barn.
Before moving the animals into the barn we create a thick bed of wood shavings and hay to catch their manure. This serves a dual purpose: it makes the barn much more pleasant for the animals, and it captures the nutrients in manure.
When spring arrives we move this used bedding to our composting area. It takes several months to fully compost this material, but at the end we find ourselves in possession of the finest soil amendment imaginable. What's more, the water quality in Goose Creek is never diminished from massive additions of raw manure to our fields. To our reckoning, everybody wins!
We keep several hives of honeybees at Old Homeplace Farm. Their invaluable pollination services certainly help our home orchard and vegetable garden reach their full potential, but they also assist our goal of pasture improvement and maintenance. The bees work diligently off of the white clover bloom in our fields, of which there is always a fresh supply from spring through fall thanks to constant reinvigoration from rotational grazing plan.
Of course, the by-product of this pollination service has its own sweet rewards!